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  • Where do I start?
    For Lindy Hop we recommend starting on Tuesday nights and for Blues on Monday nights. ​ The Tuesday drop-in lesson and dance is a good way to get a taste of what Lindy Hop is about and to try it out to some music (maybe even a live band on some nights!). ​ If you can't make Tuesdays, or you've been coming to Tuesdays for a bit and are looking to build on your dancing, join the Wednesday Beginners classes. These classes are conducted in monthly blocks, which means the classes will share a theme across the month. The first Wednesday of every month is catered towards absolute beginners, and the following weeks build on what you've learned. The teachers also recap the previous week at the start of the next, so if you miss one it's not the end of the world. ​ If you're interested in trying Blues dancing, the Monday lessons are also drop-in and followed by a chance to dance to music. Booking is not required for any of these lessons, just turn up and pay on the door.
  • What is Lindy Hop and swing dancing?
    A swing dance is any dance form that is danced to swinging jazz music, the popular music of the 1930's and 1940's (though many of us enjoy dancing to new songs or modern covers, as well). ​ Originating in the African-American community in Harlem, New York around 1928, Lindy Hop is the original swing dance, and is where most people start today. (Check out our Brief History of Lindy Hop page for more on the history of the dance). Our Tuesday and Wednesday classes are usually lessons in Lindy. ​ In our Shall We Dance? courses we also teach other vintage swing dances such as Balboa and Collegiate Shag. These are all partner dances, where two people dance with each other. We also teach solo jazz, which as the name suggests, is danced without a partner. You'll see people dancing all of these at our social dances.
  • What is Blues dancing?
    Blues is a modern name given to a family of dances, danced to blues, jazz, and related music. Blues dance, as a style, grew naturally along with the music. It combines elements of both African dance and European partnered dancing and is often danced with a simple one- or two-step basic, meaning there is less reliance on patterns, and more emphasis on creativity, style, and partnership. The simplicity of Blues dance makes it easy to pick up, and allows for rich variations within your dance.
  • What's social dancing?
    It's dancing done to socialise! (As opposed to dancing in a competition or as a performance for an audience). Most of our lessons are focussed on teaching you to dance socially with anyone you'd like to dance with. ​ On Wednesdays, the lessons are each followed by some practice/social time, and on Mondays and Tuesdays following the lesson we run weekly social dance evenings ("socials") where it's normal for people to ask each other to dance and to dance with many people (though it's always fine to turn down a dance, too). We like to invite local bands to provide live music for socials about once a month, as well as having music from our DJs. ​ We also run events which often have social dancing as part of the event. ​ (If you're interested in the performance side of things, check out our Performance Troupe).
  • What happens in a lesson?
    If you've never been to a dancing lesson before, here's what typically happens in our beginners' lessons: We stand in a circle with the teachers in the middle so everyone can see them. We'll do some sort of warmup to get everyone moving, by copying something the teachers are doing. We ask people to choose which role (leading or following) they want to do for that lesson. At CSD, this role is not linked to gender, any gender can dance any role. The teachers will usually teach or recap a "basic step", that is, one of the common patterns that the dance has as a sort of default when nothing else is happening. The teachers will ask you to find another person of the opposite role to dance with. The teachers will teach for a bit, and then get you to try what they've taught with your partner, maybe with a bit of music playing to help, then teach a bit more, and so on. ​ The teachers regularly ask all the dancers of one role to move around one place in the circle to a new partner. This is so that you get to practice leading or following different people and so that, if there's not enough people dancing one role or the other, everyone gets to try dancing with a partner (but see the note about staying with a partner on the question below). ​ T​he teachers will ask you how it's going and will ask whether people have questions or problems. While you're practicing to the music, they might come over to help or offer to dance with you if you don't have a partner. At the end of the lesson they'll recap what they've taught and maybe mention any exciting events that are coming up. After the lesson, there's typically either some practice time, or one of our social evenings.
  • Do I need to bring a partner?
    No. Because swing dancing is a social dance, in our lessons we like to rotate partners so you dance with different partners throughout the classes. This'll make you a better dancer, and sometimes things which don't work with one partner will work with the next! That said, you may want to stay with someone you came with, and this is fine too. (Teachers will ask about this at the beginning of the lesson, but feel free to remind us if we forget).
  • Do you teach Charleston?
    Yes, our Lindy Hop classes teach partnered Charleston as part of our Lindy Hop teaching, both in the 1930's "side by side" style and the 1920's style where you face your partner. Every third month, our Beginners and Intermediates Wednesday classes will be Charleston themed, and our Tuesday classes also keep Charleston in the mix.
  • What should I wear?
    Loose fitting clothing is best, and be warned: swing dancing is a decent physical workout, so you will get warm in most classes. You'll probably want to bring at least one change of top if you're dancing for a whole evening. Jewellery can scratch and get broken, so wear as little as possible. On your feet, flat soled trainers are perfect, and it’s not necessary to wear leather soled shoes. We generally advise students to avoid open-topped, split-soled or high-heeled shoes for swing dancing.
  • Can under 18s join in?
    We're a small voluntary group which isn't set up to provide safeguarding for children, so unfortunately people under 18 years old can't take part in our classes and events. From time to time we have events where we'll advertise that kids supervised by a parent or guardian are welcome in the venue, but not for social dancing. ​ Note that some of our venues are licensed premises (pubs and bars) which may have their own restrictions on under 18s attending, especially in the evenings. If you look like you could be under 18, you may need ID in these venues.
  • Do you run classes over the school/university holidays?
    Yes, our classes run all year round, including some Bank Holidays, except for a couple of weeks’ break at Christmas. Keep an eye on the website or social media for more details.
  • Do you teach air steps/aerials?
    Not in our weekly lessons, but we run occasional workshops where we get professionals to teach air steps in a safe way, so keep a look out for those. Note that we don't permit air steps on the social dance floor unless it's in a jam circle or part of a performance or competition, where people nearby can stay out of the way of flying feet.
  • Why don't you teach ...?
    We try to teach a wide range of material at our classes to keep you interested, while still concentrating on improving the basics and technique. However, if there is something you feel we’re missing, or you’d prefer it if we did things a different way, then please do contact us and let us know. We love to hear your feedback and we are always looking for ways to improve our classes for you.
  • Do I need to pre-book?
    For Beginners and Intermediates Lindy Hop, and for Blues classes, we take card/contactless payments on the door. For the Shall We Dance? courses on a Wednesday, you need to pre-book on this site. Our weekend events usually require booking in advance, if there are tickets on the door we'll make it known on social media.
  • Do I have to start at the beginning of a month?
    Our Tuesday classes always start from the very beginning and do something different each week. They don't require pre-booking, so you can just turn up and pay on the day. ​ While they don't require pre-booking, the Beginners and Intermediates classes in Lindy Hop on Wednesday come in monthly blocks (with a different theme each month). The Beginners classes start from the beginning at the start of each month, and then build on each other week to week through the month. So if you are a complete beginner who's never danced Lindy Hop before, just start with the Beginners class on the first Wednesday of the month. The teachers also recap the previous week at the start of the next, so if you miss one it's not the end of the world. ​ The Shall We Dance? courses are pre-booked as a complete course and will follow on from each other week to week through the month.
  • Can I pay in cash?
    It's a lot easier and safer for our volunteers on the door not to have to deal with cash, so we only take card or contactless payment (including Apple Pay/Android Wallet) or payment by one of our gift cards. If you turn up without that, you may well be able to give another attendee the cash and have them pay for you, though.
  • I'm finding it difficult to afford classes, can you help?
    We have an Access to Dance scheme to allow people who are in financial difficulty to get in free to our regular classes and socials. We also offer discount coupons to our weekend events. Check out the Access to Dance page for details.
  • How do I buy a gift card?
    If you'd like to buy a gift card for our classes, please email info@cambridgeswingdance.com. Let us know: A mobile number to receive a payment link How much you want to put on the card (our weekly class prices can be seen on the pages for the individual classes). We will send a payment link (PayPal, credit or debit cards) via text message to pay for the gift card. The gift card will be emailed to you, so you can forward it on to the recipient.
  • How do I pay with a gift card?
    If you've been given a gift card, you can pay on the door with it just as you would with a card or phone. The payment app used by the door volunteers will track how many uses of the card remain.
  • What are the terms and conditions for course and event bookings?
    See our Terms and Conditions page.
  • Can I share a ticket to a weekend event?
    Not usually, but if you're co-parenting and would like to share a ticket to a weekend event so that one of you can look after the kids while the other dances, we're usually happy to accommodate this. Contact us to discuss it.
  • Can I help out?
    Yes please! CSD relies on volunteers to run. Your help is what makes it possible to put on classes and social dances. We’d love it if you could help us out occasionally at one of our regular events by volunteering to look after the door. You will get our undying gratitude, free entry on the night, and free class for every 3 times you volunteer. ​ Email info@cambridgeswingdance.com for details.
  • Who are Cambridge Swing Dance?
    Find out about us, meet our committee, and find out about our teachers.
  • I'm a swing dancer / Blues dancer visiting Cambridge, can I come to your socials?
    Of course! Anyone can come to our Blues socials on Mondays or swing socials on Tuesdays, just turn up and pay on the door. You don't have to go to the drop-in lesson beforehand if you don't want to, many of our dancers just turn up for the social dancing portion of the evening. At our socials it's usual for people to dance with lots of different partners.
  • I left something behind at a class or event, how do I get it back?
    If we find lost property at one of our regular venues, we'll put it away with our equipment and post a photo of it on our Facebook group. You should be able to collect it the following week. If you lost something at CLX, Swing Sanctuary or a workshop, we may well put the photo on the event on Facebook, so keep an eye on that. You can also contact us to see whether we've found it.
  • How do I report unsafe or inappropriate behaviour?
    The community that we have built here in Cambridge (and the wider swing dance world) is generally a welcoming and friendly one, with instances of inappropriate behaviour a rare thing. That said, like many other swing dance scenes, we have safety secretaries. They are available for discussion and reassurance, not just formal reports, so please do tell them about your concerns – of any shape or form! You can see who they are on our Committee page where they appear with a safety pin in their profile pictures. Please feel free to contact them directly by emailing welfare@cambridgeswingdance.com (this email address is read only by the safety secretaries, not the whole committee). You can also find out more about our Safer Spaces policy.
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